Midnight Jazz at the McKittrick

It was about a quarter to midnight on a Sunday and I was wandering my way to the McKittrick Hotel. I don’t think I’ve been there since the secret Spoon concert a few years ago.1

The New York Hot Jazz Festival made its way onto my radar earlier in the week and sounded like fun, but I was pretty sure after an adventurous weekend of book launches and photoshoots that I wouldn’t be able to handle attending an entire day. Luckily, Shanghai Mermaid came to the rescue and they had a Midnight Speakeasy, perfect for my Night Owl Club tendencies.2

After entering the building and taking a short elevator ride up a few floors, I made my way down a hallway, stealing a cursory, curious glance at a sliver of light through a roped-off set of curtains: bright colors, some music fading away, and lots of movement. At the end of the hall was another doorway with the curtains parted and tied to the sides. I ducked under it and found myself in some other time and place. The scene was a jarring change from the quiet, dim hallway. Everyone was dressed like they stepped right out of the Roaring Twenties and the decor matched. There was a stage at the far end of the room, blindingly lit. A few couples were finishing dancing as the band wrapped up their set. The bar was on my left, and the bartenders had joined in on the fashion theme. I ordered an Old Fashioned and tried to scope out the room and get my bearings.

Of course I brought my camera along. I haven’t shot any music in a while, so between that, two perfect Old Fashions, and just trying to relax and enjoy the show, I still got some pretty good photos.3 Hours of good music and fancy dancing followed.

The party slowly wound down, star performers from earlier in the day who had made one last encore over the past two hours finished their drinks and said their goodbyes, wandering out into the early a.m. hours of the night.4

  1. And it was so amazing and still the best concert I’ve ever been to, to the point that I don’t need to ever go to another one.

  2. I’m appropriating this Langism that usually happens when games start after 10:30… Although now I’m just realizing that I may have heard that phrase during a Penguins game for the last time last season and I’m really sad about that! ☹️

  3. I’ll probably revisit editing these photos. I’m still getting used to Lightroom (since the end of Aperture and the inability of it to process my X100F shots). So they’re kind of rough drafts.

  4. I’m already looking forward to next year’s rendition. I’m definitely going to try to go to more of the festival. Maybe a half-day. The only way it’d have been better is if someone wasn’t missing, half a country away…

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